Luiten targets fairytale victory

9/14/2013 3:53:00 PM
Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten chipped in twice in his third round as the Dutchman grabbed a one shot lead heading into the final day of the KLM Open.

Aiming to become the first home winner of the tournament for a decade, Luiten shot a brilliant four under par 66 in wet and windy conditions at Kennemer to reach ten under par for the week.

That was one ahead of Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez, who battled hard to post a level par 70, with Ireland’s Damien McGrane and France’s Julien Quesne sharing third on eight under.

Luiten rewarded the home fans for braving some miserable conditions in Zandvoort despite bogeying the opening hole.

He chipped in twice for birdie - on the sixth and 16th - and also holed from 40 feet across the 17th green for another birdie to delight the large galleries.

"It was tough, it was a day all about surviving, especially on the front nine when it was raining and very windy," said Luiten, who claimed his second European Tour title in the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity in Austria in June.

"You knew it was going to be very tough, par was a pretty good score. If you said I would make par before we started I would probably have signed for it so four under is even better and I am pretty happy."

The 27 year old burst onto the scene by finishing second to Ross Fisher in this event at the same venue in 2007, but is coping well with the pressure of trying to win his National Open.

"I am just trying to enjoy it, it's great to see all the people out there even when its raining and a day like this," he added.

"You know everyone is behind you and you just try to play as good as you can and that's what I am trying to do."

Jiménez, already the oldest winner in European Tour history after his win in the Hong Kong Open aged 48 and 318 days last November, carded 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey in his round, but fellow overnight leader Pablo Larrazábal could only manage a 77 after a nightmare start with a triple-bogey seven on the first.

McGrane, whose sole European Tour title to date in the 2008 Volvo China Open came in similar conditions, said: "It was really enjoyable, my short game was razor sharp which you need in tough conditions. I managed not to drop any shots all day which was a great achievement I am very content.

"I enjoyed it only because I was able to hang in there and picked up a couple of birdies close to the end which turned it into a very good day. When the conditions get tough it falls back on chipping and putting and today I was pretty good at it.

"Some of the holes are brutal, especially on the front nine, and when I weathered as far as number six I knew it would get a little easier. I've been showing reasonable form so I am looking forward to getting to this time tomorrow evening and see what it brings."